1994 29c Blues and Jazz Singers: "Ma" Rainey

# 2859 - 1994 29c Blues and Jazz Singers: "Ma" Rainey

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US #2859
1994 “Ma” Rainey

  • Part of the Legends of American Music series
  • Set features eight Jazz and Blues singers from the 20th century

Category of Stamp:  Commemorative
Set: 
Jazz and Blues Singers, from the Legends of American Music series
Value: 
29¢, First-Class Mail rate
First Day of Issue: 
September 17, 1994
First Day City: 
Greenville, Mississippi
Quantity Issued: 
21,862,750
Printed by: 
Ashton-Potter
Printing Method:
  Lithographed
Format: 
Panes of 35 from printing plates of 210 (15 across, 14 down)
Perforations: 
11 X 10.8

Reason the stamp was issued:  The Jazz and Blues Singers stamps were issued as part of the Legends of American Music series.  They honor some of the most famous jazz and Blues singers of the 20th century.

About the stamp design:  There were few photographs of “Ma” Rainey for first-time stamp artist Julian Allen to use as reference for the stamp art.  In fact, there were only two, and one was not a clear image.  The photo Allen used reflects Rainey’s style from her big hairdo to her warm smile. 
The Blues and Jazz Singers stamps were originally planned as two separate sets, and different artists were hired for each set.  When the two sets were combined into one, both artists continued with their assignments.  Magazine illustrator Julian Allen, was given the four blues singers, while Howard Koslow created the artwork for the jazz singers.  The USPS supplied photos of the singers to both artists, but they were dissatisfied with the way some of the singers were portrayed and found other sources.

Special Design Detail: You’ll notice quotes around the “Ma” in the singer’s name.  This is how it was most often written in reference materials, so the USPS decided to keep the quotation marks.

First Day City:  The First Day of Issue ceremony for the set was held in Greenville, Mississippi, during the 17th annual Mississippi Delta Blues Festival.  Other cities also hosted First Day of Issue celebrations.  These included the hometowns of some of the featured singers.

About the Legends of American Music Series:  The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993, and ran until September 21, 1999.  The stamps were issued in semi-jumbo size.  The name of each performer is in white letters, sometimes on a black background to make it stand out.  The name of the set is shown running up the left side of the stamp.
More than 90 artists are represented from all styles of music:  rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk.  In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include band leaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, conductors, lyricists, and more.  The Legends of American Music Series was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.

History the stamp represents:  Gertrude Melissa Nix Pridgett was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1886.  At age 14 she made her debut in a talent show, and was soon performing with vaudeville troupes.  Four years later she married Will “Pa” Rainey, a member of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels traveling show.  The couple toured under the name Rainey and Rainey – “The Assassinators of the Blues.”  Everyone came to call Gertrude “Ma,” or the “Mother of the Blues,” as she claimed to have named the music.
Ma Rainey first discovered the “blues” when she heard a young girl singing a “strange and poignant” lament in a small Missouri town in 1902.  Soon after she began incorporating a blues encore into her show.  Later blues music became her main form of expression.
Ma Rainey had a powerful, contralto voice (the lowest female part), and sang with great emotion.  Utilizing great control to produce a wide-ranging, sweeping sound, Rainey performed music true to her roots, and disliked risqué or commercial songs.  In 1923 she began recording for Paramount, and was a great success.  By 1928 she had recorded over 90 songs.  After her mother’s death in 1934, Ma quit touring, and invested in two small theaters.  Five years later she passed away in the comfort of her Columbus home.

.

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US #2859
1994 “Ma” Rainey

  • Part of the Legends of American Music series
  • Set features eight Jazz and Blues singers from the 20th century

Category of Stamp:  Commemorative
Set: 
Jazz and Blues Singers, from the Legends of American Music series
Value: 
29¢, First-Class Mail rate
First Day of Issue: 
September 17, 1994
First Day City: 
Greenville, Mississippi
Quantity Issued: 
21,862,750
Printed by: 
Ashton-Potter
Printing Method:
  Lithographed
Format: 
Panes of 35 from printing plates of 210 (15 across, 14 down)
Perforations: 
11 X 10.8

Reason the stamp was issued:  The Jazz and Blues Singers stamps were issued as part of the Legends of American Music series.  They honor some of the most famous jazz and Blues singers of the 20th century.

About the stamp design:  There were few photographs of “Ma” Rainey for first-time stamp artist Julian Allen to use as reference for the stamp art.  In fact, there were only two, and one was not a clear image.  The photo Allen used reflects Rainey’s style from her big hairdo to her warm smile. 
The Blues and Jazz Singers stamps were originally planned as two separate sets, and different artists were hired for each set.  When the two sets were combined into one, both artists continued with their assignments.  Magazine illustrator Julian Allen, was given the four blues singers, while Howard Koslow created the artwork for the jazz singers.  The USPS supplied photos of the singers to both artists, but they were dissatisfied with the way some of the singers were portrayed and found other sources.

Special Design Detail: You’ll notice quotes around the “Ma” in the singer’s name.  This is how it was most often written in reference materials, so the USPS decided to keep the quotation marks.

First Day City:  The First Day of Issue ceremony for the set was held in Greenville, Mississippi, during the 17th annual Mississippi Delta Blues Festival.  Other cities also hosted First Day of Issue celebrations.  These included the hometowns of some of the featured singers.

About the Legends of American Music Series:  The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993, and ran until September 21, 1999.  The stamps were issued in semi-jumbo size.  The name of each performer is in white letters, sometimes on a black background to make it stand out.  The name of the set is shown running up the left side of the stamp.
More than 90 artists are represented from all styles of music:  rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk.  In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include band leaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, conductors, lyricists, and more.  The Legends of American Music Series was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.

History the stamp represents:  Gertrude Melissa Nix Pridgett was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1886.  At age 14 she made her debut in a talent show, and was soon performing with vaudeville troupes.  Four years later she married Will “Pa” Rainey, a member of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels traveling show.  The couple toured under the name Rainey and Rainey – “The Assassinators of the Blues.”  Everyone came to call Gertrude “Ma,” or the “Mother of the Blues,” as she claimed to have named the music.
Ma Rainey first discovered the “blues” when she heard a young girl singing a “strange and poignant” lament in a small Missouri town in 1902.  Soon after she began incorporating a blues encore into her show.  Later blues music became her main form of expression.
Ma Rainey had a powerful, contralto voice (the lowest female part), and sang with great emotion.  Utilizing great control to produce a wide-ranging, sweeping sound, Rainey performed music true to her roots, and disliked risqué or commercial songs.  In 1923 she began recording for Paramount, and was a great success.  By 1928 she had recorded over 90 songs.  After her mother’s death in 1934, Ma quit touring, and invested in two small theaters.  Five years later she passed away in the comfort of her Columbus home.

.